Nestled along a 30-mile stretch of Michigan’s “Fruit Belt” region lies a collection of orchards, farms and vineyards known as Lakeshore Harvest Country. Taking full advantage of the “lake effect” climate delivered by the Great Lakes and Lake Michigan specifically, this shoreline area is rooted in agricultural and tourism heritage.
After an extended winter season, summer is now in full bloom with apple, cherry and peach trees growing sweet fruit that will be soon be sold at roadside farm stands, farmers markets and served up on menus at local restaurants. Luscious berries of all kinds—strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries—are ripening into mouth-watering fruit ready for the picking. Potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, corn, squash and bushels of other vegetables make for a harvest bounty unlike any other as the growing season progresses into fall.
And, don’t forget locally-made cheeses, fresh-baked breads and pies, homemade jams and sauces, flavorfully-blended spices and all kinds of other culinary goodies that every foodie should have in their pantry. Wineries and cideries can also be found in this area, offering up award-winning craft beverages perfect for pairing with all the delicious market finds.
Visiting Lakeshore Harvest Country is a real family affair. In today’s fast-paced, technologically-focused world, it is more important than ever for families to spend quality time together reconnecting and making memories. There’s just something special about seeing kids visit with the cows, goats, llamas and other animals, or to enjoy a snack of fresh picked carrots or snap peas, to head out to the strawberry or blueberry patch or to watch as artists create beautiful pieces. Our farms and attractions provide an opportunity for entertainment as well as education for all generations.
“We are excited to once again welcome families to explore our region throughout the summer and fall seasons,” says Kim Overhiser of Overhiser Orchards in South Haven, one of the 18 attractions that makes up the Lakeshore Harvest Country, “especially during our 12th Annual Road Rally on Saturday, July 21 and our 7th Annual Bicycle Tour on Saturday, September 15.”
Lakeshore Harvest Country was launched with a grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture in 2006 and in 2009 the trail was awarded the “Community Vision” award by the Greater South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to its trail events (see below), Lakeshore Harvest Country publishes a brochure and map which identifies its members and provides additional information about the activities found at each. The map is available at any of the member locations, as well as at the Visitor Bureau offices in Saugatuck and South Haven and Welcome Centers around the state. It can also be downloaded online at LakeshoreHarvestCountry.com.
Cost: $20 per vehicle ($15 in advance)
Previously hosted in the fall season, this family-friendly traveling scavenger hunt departs from Barden’s Farm Market in South Haven at 1pm. The clues make everyone pay attention while traveling the backroads to see what the Lakeshore Harvest Country farms, studios, wineries and cideries have to offer during the summer season. Tour the farms, visit the animals, purchase fresh produce, sample wine and cider and discover the delights found along the Lakeshore Harvest Country trail. The rally ends at 5pm with a celebration the surprise finale location, where over 20 door prizes will be presented, along with give-aways for the kids and of course the trophy for the Rally Champion.
Enjoy a countryside bicycle ride to fruit farms, wineries and cideries in and around South Haven, Fennville and Saugatuck as the fall color season begins to take shape. Four routes ranging in length from 15 to 62 miles are available to accommodate riders of varying abilities, starting in Douglas or South Haven. Rest stops, snacks, lunch and even shopping are offered along the route—with concierge service to transport purchases (such as produce, artwork and other goodies) back to the starting point, for riders to pick up after the event. The event starts at 8am. Advanced registration is required at LHCBT.com.
Members of Lakeshore Harvest Country Include:
- Barden’s Farm Market
- Bumbleberry Acres
- Cogdal Vineyards
- Dee’s Lakeshore Farm
- DeGrandchamp Farms
- Evergreen Lane Artisan Cheese
- Fenn Valley Vineyards & Winery
- Hungry Village Tours
- Khnemu Studio on Fernwood Farm
- Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum
- McIntosh Apple Orchards & Winery
- Overhiser Orchards
- Riverbend Raspberries
- Salt of the Earth
- The Sugarhouse at Ridley Family Sugar Farm
- Virtue Cider